Despite California’s budget deficit rising to $16 billion recently, Gov. Jerry Brown is asking state legislators for $6 billion in bonds to launch construction on the proposed high-speed rail system. Voters approved a $9.95 billion bond package for the “bullet train” in 2008, but just about everything about the rail system has changed since then.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority issued a revised business plan in April that calls for a 130-mile segment running from Bakersfield to Madera in the state’s Central Valley. If the Central Valley leg is built, the plan says the system would eventually share tracks with commuter trains in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, in what it is calling a “blended” approach. Not exactly the bullet train from San Diego to Los Angeles to the Bay Area and Sacramento that voters were sold back in 2008.
The last thing California should do right now is add billions more in bond debt, write Adrian T. Moore, Wendell Cox, and Joseph Vranich. Beyond the most obvious—the state simply cannot afford it—there are at least five major reasons California shouldn’t move forward on this rail project.